“I’ll see you in court” is often the first thing people think of when contemplating legal action. While resolving problems through litigation is an approach used by many people and commonly featured in TV shows, this method is usually stressful and expensive. Litigation can require hundreds of lawyer and paralegal hours to gather evidence and build a successful case. When clients have to pay for all those hours, plus court fees, the process can become financially draining.
There is certainly a time and place for litigation. However, you may want to consider alternative dispute resolution methods, such as mediation. Alternate dispute resolution keeps your case out of court, usually resulting in a much faster and less expensive process.
At Batson Nolan, PLC, our Springfield mediation lawyers help clients consider whether the mediation process is the best option for their case. Litigation is the right choice for some cases, and our attorneys successfully litigated many cases each year. However, mediation offers many benefits worth considering, which we will discuss in more detail here.
What Is Mediation?
Mediation is a voluntary settlement process where you can resolve disputes. Sometimes, a judge orders a case to go to mediation. Other times, parties decide on their own to resolve a dispute this way. In mediation, a neutral third party serves as a mediator, helping participants negotiate an agreement.
A mediator does not act as a judge who decides on a just outcome for the parties. Instead, the mediator listens and facilitates communication as the parties reach their own agreement. Mediators may work with both parties together in one room, urging them to discuss their conflict. At other times, parties may be in separate rooms, and the mediator may conference with them individually.
During mediation, each party promises to refrain from litigation, trying to find a mutually agreeable resolution. If the parties fail to reach an agreement during mediation, they can then proceed to litigation.
What’s the Difference Between Mediation and Arbitration?
Mediation and arbitration are both forms of alternative dispute resolution. The processes share similarities, such as keeping a case out of court and prioritizing the privacy of the parties while saving them time and legal fees. Both mediation and arbitration can result in a binding agreement.
However, they have some significant differences. Arbitration uses a private judge to conduct an out-of-court hearing. While a mediator does not issue a ruling, an arbitration judge does. In mediation, the parties retain control of the proceedings, while in arbitration, the judge takes control. Arbitration is closer to a courtroom trial than mediation.
In mediation, each party retains the right to take the case to arbitration or to a trial if discussions don’t produce an agreement. Differing from this flexibility, the decision of an arbitration judge is usually final, and parties lack the ability to appeal.
When Should You Use a Mediator?
There are many legal disputes where you can use a mediator. Mediation is often particularly helpful in the following civil law situations.
Both men and women experience significant stress during a divorce, often processing emotions such as grief, failure, anger, and confusion. While there’s nothing you can do to eliminate stress during a divorce, attempting divorce mediation can make the experience easier. You can work together to divide your assets and work through dissolving your marriage cooperatively.
Both parents may become very emotional when discussing child custody, so a neutral mediator can facilitate communication and work to keep parties calm in these discussions. Unlike a judge who determines what custody arrangement is in the best interest of the child, a mediator helps parents reach their own agreement on what’s best for the family as a whole. This process prioritizes the emotional well-being of both parents and children.
Real Estate Disputes
If you have a real estate dispute, such as a disagreement with your home builder, mediation can quickly solve the conflict. Similarly, landlord-tenant mediation can help resolve issues related to renters and rental agreements. Our mediation lawyers also work on many other civil cases to resolve them through alternative methods. In almost all civil cases, mediation provides a faster, less expensive, and less stressful way to resolve disputes.
What Are the Benefits of Mediation?
Mediation offers many benefits compared to the adversarial litigation process. It encourages cooperation and respect between the parties. In situations such as child custody, where the parents will have continuing interaction with each other, settling custody arrangements amicably sets the tone for their future communication.
Mediation also allows you and the other party to take control of finding the best outcome for both of you. Instead of leaving your situation in the hands of a judge, or letting success depend on who has the most persuasive lawyer, you work together to find a mutually agreeable outcome. Also, mediation is private and confidential, unlike public court records. Another big advantage is that mediation usually saves both parties significant time and money.
Contact an Experienced Springfield Mediation Attorneys
If you want to approach a dispute in a more cooperative way, while potentially saving much time and money, you should consider mediation. At Batson Nolan, our experienced mediation attorneys help Tennessee clients navigate disputes such as divorce, child custody, insurance, and property disagreements. Our firm has been serving Tennessee families for more than a century.
While we are always prepared to litigate, our firm also has three attorneys who have been approved by the Supreme Court of Tennessee Alternative Dispute Resolution Commission in the field of general civil mediation. One of our attorneys, Daniel Mark Nolan, is approved as a family mediator.
We advise clients on different methods of resolving their case—ranging from mediation to litigation—and let clients evaluate their priorities and decide how to proceed. If clients choose to mediate their case, we work to facilitate cooperation and communication between the parties and help them come to an acceptable resolution.
To learn more about our mediators and determine if mediation is the right course of action for your conflict, contact us for a consultation.
Our experienced lawyers also handle other legal cases, including:
- Child Custody
- Family Law
- Personal Injury
- Estate Planning
- Real Estate
- Business/Corporate Law
- Limited Liability Partnership
- Employment Law
- Administrative Law and Professional Licensure